By: Sean Crose
It was, without doubt, one of the biggest matches of 2020. Errol Spence, the undefeated IBF and WBC welterweight champion of the world, was returning to the ring after a horrible car crash in 2019 that he remarkably survived. The man Spence would face Saturday night in front of his hometown crowd of 16,000 people at AT&T Stadium in Dallas was none other than former titlist Danny Garcia, for years one of the biggest names in the fight game. Spence was the considerable favorite to win the fight, but Garcia was not a man who could easily be written off. His skill set was simply too strong.
The first round saw the 28-0 Spence, who the crowd was clearly behind, immediately begin to pursue his 36-2 opponent. Garcia nicely held his ground, however. Spence also began to work the body. Garcia stayed active. In the second, Garcia tries to position himself with his highly underrated footwork. Spence, on the other hand, remained cool and collected. Tellingly, Garcia swung for the fences toward round’s end.
Garcia went down from a slip the first minute of the third. Both men began to trade hard around the midpoint of the round. Spence, who was still working the body, looked to have the edge as the round wound down. Garcia walked to his corner with a small cut. Spence began to turn up the heat in the fourth, moving forward aggressively and landing heavy shots. Yet Garcia remained game and threw heavy shots of his own.
The fifth started like a high powered chess match. Each man was employing his own impressive skill set to the best of his ability. Garcia was landing very well, but Spence’s shots appeared to be a bit stronger. Still, Garcia seemed to land more of the effective punches landed. Spence tore into Garcia’s body in the sixth. He was also beginning to put his punches together and bruising up Garcia’s face. Garcia wasn’t one to fall apart, though. He kept the round extremely close.
It was worth noting, though, that Garcia appeared to moan in between rounds…never a good sign.
A clash of heads momentarily halted the seventh, but neither man was hurt. The action wasn’t as blistering as it had been in the previous rounds, but it was still quite competitive. Garcia tossed some good straight punches in the first minute of the eighth. Spence continued so grind away at the midsection. The Texan was truly starting to pile it on. Garcia was getting beaten up.
Spence was patient through the first half of the ninth. Perhaps he was simply conserving energy for the championship rounds. Garcia, for his part, still swung away, though he didn’t appear to be as strong as he was earlier. Spence’s body shot had also made his legs, which had always served Garcia magnificently, less effective than they had been. It was clear in the tenth that Garcia had significantly slowed down. Spence’s only concern at that point seemed to be to avoid getting lazy and let Garcia get back in the bout. Indeed, Garcia rocked his man twice towards the end of the round.
Garcia’s face was plainly swollen in the eleventh. He was throwing hard and effectively, but he was truly looking hurt. Meanwhile, Spence kept working away. Were he stronger, Garcia might have had more success. The final round saw Garcia successfully pick away at Spence. Yet Spence continued to thud at the body. After the final bell had rung, it was obvious that Spence had pounded his man…but that Garcia, who had fired away until the end, was a truly courageous warrior.
What wasn’t obvious is that the fight was much closer than it may have appeared. Needless to say, Spence walked out of AT&T Stadium still in possession of his title belts and with a unanimous decision win over Garcia on his resume. The official scorecards read 116-112, 116-112, and 117-111.